SHOALHAVEN City Council will apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for permission to increase general rates by 4.6 per cent above the rate pegging limit (3.4 per cent) for the current financial year.
This amounts to an 8 per cent rates hike.
Council said the increase would provide it with an additional $2.3 million, all of which would be allocated towards road and path renewal in 2013/14 ($1.8 million on roads and $500,000 on pathways).
Council staff have created a discussion paper to explain the proposed rating increase, outline council’s current budget situation and identify the specific areas the additional funding would be spent.
Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said she hoped all local residents would take the time to read the simple document before making comment on the area’s future rating structure.
“It is little secret that council will be facing a situation of increasing deficits over the coming years if expenditure is kept at similar levels,” said Cr Gash.
“Recent survey data, carried out as part of the ongoing Community Strategic Plan review, show that the majority of respondents are currently dissatisfied with the quality of the area’s roads and paths.
“While this is understandable, current financial modelling indicates that without a significant increase in revenue council will be unable to fund desired future capital works programs or increase spending on the maintenance and renewal of existing infrastructure assets.
“If Council chooses not to proceed with the Special Variation application, there will need to be a significant reduction in service levels with council already having made a commitment to increase spending on roads over the coming year.”
The Special Variation Discussion Paper can be found on council’s website www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au, at the Nowra and Ulladulla Administration Centres, all local libraries and leisure centres.